Taro treat

Colocasia leaves

Colocasia leaves  


Colocasia ( Araceae genus) is native to tropical Polynesia and southeastern Asia. Commonly known as elephant-ear, colocasia is a herbaceous perennial with a large rhizome on or just below the ground surface. The leaves are large to very large. The plant gets its name from its leaves, which are shaped like a large ear or shield. It is also known as taro, cocoyam, dasheen, chembu and eddoe.

Easily digestible

Colocasia is cultivated for its edible corms, which are the short, vertical, swollen underground plant stems that serve as a storage organ to survive the winter or summer drought and heat. The plant is inedible when raw and considered toxic due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals. The toxin is minimised by cooking, especially with a pinch of baking soda. It can also be reduced by steeping taro roots in cold water overnight. The corms are easy to digest and used as a nutritional supplement.

Culinary uses

In India both the roots and the leaves are used. In Karnataka, the leaves are eaten as a breakfast dish — made into fritters or steamed. In Maharashtra, the leaves are de-veined, rolled with a paste of gram flour, tamarind paste, red chilli powder, turmeric, coriander, asoefotida and salt, and steamed. These can be cut into pieces and eaten as such or shallow-fried and eaten as a snack. In Kerala, the leaves are used to make chembila curry, and the roots in chembu puzhukku. The stem and root are also used in the preparation of ishtu and moru curry. In Tamil Nadu, it is boiled, peeled and fried and eaten as a side-dish with rice. In Gujarat, it is used to make patra. In Andhra Pradesh, the roots are boiled, peeled, fried and eaten as an entree with rice, or boiled along with the gravy (pulusu); the leaves are also consumed. The corms are roasted, baked or boiled and the natural sugars give a sweet, nutty flavour. The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C and contain more protein than the corms.

In Odisha, taro root is known as saru. A popular dish made out of taro is saru besara. Taro is an indispensable ingredient in dalma, where vegetables are cooked with dal. Taro roots, deep-fried in oil and mixed with red chilli powder and salt, are known as saru chips.

Now, for a recipe.

Saru Besara


Saru (Taro): 8 pieces

Tomato (diced): 3

Green chillies

(chopped): 2

Fennel: 1 tsp

Mustard paste 3 tsp

Garlic paste: 1 tsp

Turmeric powder:

quarter tsp

Coriander chopped: 1 tsp

Salt to taste

Method: Boil taro in water till it is cooked and tender; peel it and cut it into pieces. Heat a frying pan on a medium flame; add oil and fry the pieces; set them aside. To make the besara, heat a sautee pan and add oil, chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, mustard and garlic paste and sautee. Add water and cook the mixture. Add the taro into the mixture and cook. In another sautee pan, add a pinch of fennel in hot oil and allow it to splutter. Then add the chopped green chillies. Pour the tempering on the besara mixture. Sprinkle chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

Executive Chef, Taj Club House

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Printable version | Dec 13, 2019 5:55:41 PM |

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